This is what happens when you’re a sports columnist these days: You plan to comment on something like the Bears’ endless search for a franchise quarterback, and you end up thinking only about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yes, the Bears whack away like a blindfolded child at the quarterback piñata that’s always yanked just out of reach by a giggling football god. And, yes, there are those who think the Bears have found that piñata gem in rookie Justin Fields.
I say to those happy folks: based on what?
Certainly not anything Fields has done for an entire game this season.
His passer rating has topped the NFL average of 91.2 only once, and that was against the Raiders over two months ago, when he threw for a whopping 111 yards and finished at 91.9.
We could go on about Fields’ — and the Bears’ — struggles. But COVID keeps raising its ugly head. The pandemic is the story everywhere these days, including in sports.
Indeed, we don’t even know who all will be playing for the Bears against the Vikings on Monday night. As I write this, there are 14 Bears players and three coaches who, because of COVID, may or may not be available. It’s possible the Bears’ entire starting secondary might miss the game because of COVID.
It’s bad elsewhere, too.
The NBA has postponed five games, with more likely to come. The Nets are so COVID-bit they have said they’ll activate nutty anti-vaxxer/superstar Kyrie Irving for road games. Unfortunately, the former (current?) flat-earth believer can’t play or practice in New York because of city pandemic rules. Such is his reward for lunacy.
The NHL has postponed nearly 40 games so far, and NHL players’ participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing is in doubt. DePaul’s men’s basketball team has canceled two games in three days, including Monday’s Big East opener against Creighton.
But we’re talking NFL stuff here, since the Bears and Vikings go at it Monday night on ABC and ESPN in front of a national-TV audience. What viewing America sees in the conflict will be anybody’s guess.
And much of what it perceives, sadly, will depend on how it feels regarding COVID vaccinations and the notion that the government is lying about the pandemic and our chief COVID spokesman, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is a deceitful tool of the Deep State whose goal is to enslave us all.
Me, myself? I can’t stand even to look at Kirk Cousins, the Vikings quarterback who is a solid anti-vaxxer.
He’s a pretty good, at times, NFL quarterback, but he’s a fool when it comes to science. He won’t get vaccinated, and as the team leader — which quarterbacks must be — his message is a pitiful one.
Let’s make it clear: The -COVID virus has mutated to the delta variant to the current omicron form because it has found helpful hosts. And those hosts are the unvaccinated.
The unvaccinated, at his point, if they’re not ineligible children under age 5, are cowards and non-patriots and those who believe disinformation.
Cousins is a very fervent Christian. He has said, “I believe that as you read the teachings of Jesus, He doesn’t promise material wealth, but He does promise suffering.’’
That’s fine. The world is full of suffering. Suffering is guaranteed in this life, with a capital “G.’’ But the leaders of every major religion on our planet have urged followers to get vaccinated.
Cousins and his ilk likely get their information from right-wing sources, possibly from hateful Fox News crew members such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. But wherever he gets it, it’s wrong. No more patience for these clowns. The anti-vaxxers harm us all. They won’t listen to logic or science or truth or even what some might call miracles.
As Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health put it of the swiftly developed vaccine, “This is in the same category as putting a man on the moon.’’
On Friday, a congressional report stated that the former Trump administration engaged in “deliberate efforts’’ to undermine the U.S. response to the pandemic for political purposes. That’s so sad. So terrible.
As Fauci said Sunday, “It is just, you know, raging through the world.’’
That’s COVID, omicron style. Even in football, you need to believe in reality. If not? Well, I hope your fantasy world is a load of fun. And stops killing the rest of us.